Beauty 

Kiitan Akinniranye on Celebrating Black Beauty Through Her Brand Atarah Avenue

The digital creator talks diversity and breaking down beauty standards.

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Six years ago, Nigeria-born, Atlanta-based content creator Kiitan Akinniranye launched her YouTube channel, with videos that range from hair tutorials to fashion lookbooks. To make more of an impact within the beauty community and to promote diversity, Akinniranye later established Atarah Avenue — a brand that primarily sells head wraps — to celebrate Black hair. “The mission of Atarah is to empower women by showcasing their beauty, but also giving them great accessories to support them on their hair journeys,” the founder tells us. Akinniranye, who moved to the U.S. at the age of 7, saw the lack of representation in the industry. “I struggled to find women that looked like me doing and being the things that I dreamt about,” she explains.

To learn more about Akinniranye’s source of inspiration and what her daily beauty routine looks like, read on for our interview.

Kiitan Akinniranye’s Beauty Essentials

Makeup

Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick: I absolutely love nude lips. My go-to is hands down the “True Grit” shade. It’s such a reliable color that I know will always complement my skin and my outfit no matter the occasion.

Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Luminous Matte Foundation: I use the “Cocoa” shade and it has amazing quality. It’s not super thick and it gives you the flawless coverage you need. This is the superior foundation.

Huda Beauty #BombBrows Microshade Brow Pencil: The pencil is extra thin and allows you to draw life-like hairs onto your brows. I use the “Black Brown” shade to accomplish that look.

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray: My biggest pet peeve is taking my mask off and noticing my makeup has shifted or is all over the inside of my mask. With this setting spray, you never have to worry about that.

Fenty Beauty Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth Bronzer: The “Mocha Mami” gives me a rich, warm glow and it goes really well with my red undertones. It’s actually like a bronzer and blush in one.

Chanel Natural Finish Loose Powder: When you need medium coverage with a fabulous finish to still give your look that extra oomph, Chanel is your girl.

Skincare 

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Oil Control Serum: This product is a part of my everyday skincare routine. Aside from the unbeatable price, my combination skin loves it.

Tatcha The Water Cream Oil-Free Pore Minimizing Moisturizer: This is easily the holy grail of creams. It’s lightweight, melts into your skin, keeps you moisturized and refreshed with literally just a pea size for your face and neck.

GLAMGLOW BRIGHTMUD Dual-Exfoliation Treatment Mask: I tried this as a sample and I was surprisingly hooked. I only use it twice a week and it doesn’t cause any dryness or breakouts. I love the citrusy smell and the warm afterglow.

Supergoop! Glow Stick Sunscreen SPF 50 PA++++: It provides amazing sun protection and gives you a natural glow without the chalky look.

Haircare

T3 Whirl Trio Interchangeable Styling Wand: Voluminous curls are one of my favorite hairstyles to rock, and the T3 wand understands the assignment every single time. My curls literally last all day.

ECOCO Styler Professional Styling Gel: This is the gel of all gels. When I think of a reliable and consistent beauty essential, the ECOCO Styler is it. I don’t travel anywhere without it. I love it because it lasts so long — a little really goes a long way.

Fragrance

Fenty Eau de Parfum: This scent is bold and addictive with the perfect mix of fruits and spices. There’s nothing like entering the room with a confident fragrance that speaks for itself.

 

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A post shared by Atarah Avenue (@atarahavenue)

Can you tell us about Atarah Avenue and what inspired you to create your brand ?

“Atarah” means “crown” in Hebrew. I created the company to celebrate Black women’s beautiful crowns, and accentuate them with my accessories. I’m really happy we are entering a period where Black women’s hair is being more socially accepted — I grew up at a time when it wasn’t. The mission of Atarah is to empower women by showcasing their beauty, but also giving them great accessories to support them on their hair journeys.

“Traditional beauty standards can try to force you down one straight path, but as I got older, I learned to forge my own path and exist without permission and create without boundaries.”

What about your YouTube channel? What made you want to create videos?

I started YouTube to share my hair tutorials, and it’s definitely still remained my favorite thing to post and watch. I love seeing all of the creative styles and new looks. It gives me tips for my own styles and it’s also just inspiring to see what everyone else is doing. When I was first starting out, I had no idea what I was doing and that made me insecure. I was taking everyone’s opinions — negative or positive — to heart, and that just ended up confusing me more. When it comes to content, I am always open to constructive criticism and I love hearing from my followers. However, I have learned that it is best to not share every aspect of my life with the public. It’s best to have a core group to look to for advice and counsel, and make sure you’re thoughtfully filtering everything else that’s coming in.

Your YouTube content mainly focuses on hair. Can you share with us what your current daily haircare routine looks like?

Every day looks different when it comes to my haircare, but a few things are consistent no matter what hairstyle I have at the moment. Moisture, nourishment and protection — protective styles help keep my natural hair safe while I experiment with new lengths, colors and textures of hair.

You also have a lot of fashion-related videos. Where do you usually get your outfit inspirations from?

I have always been into fashion since I was a little girl. I usually just go with what feels right and looks right on me. I’m inspired by everyday life mixed with a high fashion flair. I like to express myself with clothes and accessories, so my life is one big game of dress-up. There are so many amazing men and women taking leaps in fashion, and I am honored to be a part of it.

What are your top three favorite brands to shop from and why?

Zara is good for my everyday looks that are functional and modern but also simplistic enough to be paired with other bold items in my closet.

The Kai Collective speaks directly to me — the colors, details and statements. I love supporting my friends and I’m always going to shop with Black-owned businesses.

Farfetch is easily one of my favorite brands to shop from. I can sift through a variety of luxury designers in one place. Also, they push for sustainability by accepting high-end donations that go towards charity.

How would you describe your style?

I would say my style is bold, alluring and sexy, with a modern chic flair. I like to switch it up though and try new things. My style is mirrored to the occasion. I try to make sure my look is true to me and where I’m headed.

 

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A post shared by Atarah Avenue (@atarahavenue)

What was your definition of beauty as a young girl? Did it change over time as you got older?

I grew up in Nigeria, where I was surrounded by people that looked just like me. When I was 7 years old, I came to the U.S. and almost instantly, I noticed the shift. I struggled to find women that looked like me doing and being the things that I dreamt about. Traditional beauty standards can try to force you down one straight path, but as I got older, I learned to forge my own path and exist without permission and create without boundaries.

The beauty industry has come a long way in terms of diversity, but do you think there’s more that can be done?

There’s always more that can be done. This is a deeply rooted issue that goes beyond statements and partnerships. Change has to be cultivated at the core of each brand and business. Diversity is nothing without inclusion at all levels. Representation on a feed is a start, but representation where decisions are being made and products are being created will continue to push us further in the right direction.

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